China to maintain ‘zero COVID’ policy in 2nd half of 2022


China decided on Thursday to maintain its strict “zero-COVID” policy for the second half of 2022, as leaders pledged efforts to get the best possible results for the world’s second-largest economy, state media reported.

The decision on radical policies to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak was taken at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee, chaired by President Xi Jinping, the party’s general secretary.

People will conduct PCR tests for the new coronavirus in Shanghai on July 6, 2022. (TBEN) ==TBEN

The participants admitted that the current economic operation faces “a number of prominent contradictions and problems” and pledged to keep the economy within reasonable range with an emphasis on stabilizing employment and prices, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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The report said Chinese leaders agreed that Beijing has “effectively coordinated epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development,” and that the relationship between anti-COVID measures and economic development is “comprehensive” and ” in the long term” should be considered. , especially from a political point of view.”

The meeting also highlighted the need to detect virus mutations and conduct research and development of new vaccines and drugs.

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All eyes were on whether the Communist Party will continue to pursue its zero-COVID policy until the end of its twice-decade congress in the fall, at which point Xi is expected to secure a controversial third term as leader.

China has implemented full or partial lockdowns in dozens of major cities, with the highly contagious Omicron strain spreading, dampening business and consumer sentiment.

Such measures have led to a bleak outlook for the Chinese economy. In the April-June period, the Chinese economy grew just 0.4 percent year-on-year, with growth slowing amid a prolonged lockdown in Shanghai.

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The annual gross domestic product figure underlined that it will be difficult for the communist government to meet its growth target of about 5 percent for this year.

At Thursday’s meeting, leaders also decided to implement effective fiscal and monetary policies to compensate for insufficient demand, Xinhua said.

They also stressed the need to actively promote trade and introduce technology and foreign capital, but strict COVID restrictions have made foreign companies reluctant to boost investment in China.